Saturday, September 17, 2011

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

“Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”, every once in awhile that powerful quote from Shawshank Redemption comes to my mind. While sitting on the ground next to the bones of Joseph W Houck, “died at age 17 years 4 months & 24 days”, the quote hit me with all its force. I am mortal being, someday I will die. I may even die on my bike ride home.
So why was I sitting on the ground next to this gravestone? I’m not a complete freak—there really was a pretty good reason. And I will really explain it after I post this. Because this picture made my day:

I started my bike ride in a nasty mood. I was grouchy, already tired, and I wanted to consume large amounts of chocolate. Instead I hopped on my bike. Since the teddy bear I picked up last week cleaned up really nicely, I decided to drag him along. He will be my new bicycling buddy. I think I will take him every time I ride now.

I started my usual ride going to Riverside Loop. There, I was instantly cheered by this llama. Isn’t he cute? When I stopped to take his picture, he ran over to me and let me pet him. I was instantly happy. Who couldn’t be cheered by this face?

I was now grateful that I had forced myself out for the ride. I was ready to bike forever and never stop. Though I did stop to take this photo:

Ahahaha, it is a bicycle lawnmower. It is in a yard full on antiques.

Seeing these antiques set me into a more contemplative mood. I knew I was heading towards the cemetery, and I got to thinking about discarded things, especially since Teddy Bear had been abandoned in the mud too. So when I finally reached the South Yamhill Cemetery, I was ready to sit and think about things for awhile.
This is where the gravestone of Joseph W Houck came in. Last week I had wandered through the graveyard, looking at the various stones and wondering about them.
When I came across this gravestone I was instantly intrigued.

It wasn’t the most beautiful marker. It wasn’t the oldest, the biggest, or really that different from most of the stones in the cemetery. But something about it pulled at me. Perhaps it was the age at death. There was something tragic about it.
So I went home and looked Joseph W. Houck up on the internet. The only thing I could find was a census report of 1880. His father was James and his mother was Adeline. They are also buried there in the cemetery.
I also realized that the date I had visited the cemetery and first became fascinated by the headstone was also the anniversary of his death, September 8, one hundred and twenty-nine years ago.
So being the morbid person that I am. This time I decided that I would do my contemplating sitting next to the gravestone of this person who had caught my curiosity. It was then that I decided that I wanted to live my life to its fullest. I wanted to immerse myself in existing rather than placidly sip it.
I want to live my life so that even if I die tomorrow, I will say “I loved my life”.

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